Cablegate: Canada's Evolving Capacity for Disaster Relief And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

191755Z Oct 05





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: Canada's Stabilization and Reconstruction
Task Force (START) Secretariat, a new bureau with
responsibilities equivalent to those of S/CRS and some of the
State Pol/Mil Bureau, began operating on September 6. Housed
in the International Security Branch under A/DM Jim Wright,
it has responsibility for all civilian policy and operational
activities related to post conflict and disaster response,
including de-mining, SA/LW, peacebuilding, peacekeeping,
post-conflict stabilization, and humanitarian response. The
bureau has managed Canada's contribution to the AU force in
Sudan, elections support in Haiti, and peacebuilding in the
Middle East. START personnel are interested in building
strong linkages with U.S. and other counterparts and are
seeking the best mechanism for prior planning among
international partners. End Summary


2. (SBU) On October 18 Senior Director and Deputy Head of
Secretariat Tim Martin and three of five directors in the

newly established Foreign Affairs Canada Secretariat for the
Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) offered
poloffs an overview of the development of Canada's response
capability for post conflict and disaster response. The
Secretariat was established with impetus from the

International Policy Statement in order to consolidate all
offices that play a role in the conflict cycle. The
Secretariat has five units:


-- Human Security Program Management Group (IRG): Manages
Canada's Human Security Program and will assume
responsibility for the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF)
established by the International Policy Statement.
-- Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Group (IRC):
Primarily a planning and policy shop, works with regional
bureaus to monitor trouble spots and design future
peacebuilding programs.
-- Peacekeeping and Peace Operations Support Group (IRP): The
START operational arm, responsible for inter-agency
management of active peacekeeping missions, and implementing
initiatives from the Sea Island Summit; and oversees the task
force that is responsible for Sudan.
-- Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response Group
(IRH/GHA): Co-managed with the Global Issues Bureau, key
responsibilities include coordination of response to
humanitarian crises (deployment of the DART team); provided
the lead on the recent response to the earthquake in Pakistan
and tsunami relief.
-- Mine Action and Small Arms Team (ILX): Includes landmine
policy and combating proliferation of small arms and light

3. (SBU) The Secretariat has both a policy and an operational
role, supported by the GPSF (initially, C$100 million a year
for 5 years). Like counterparts in S/CRS Martin explained
that the operational group (IRP) is developing ways to
rapidly access the right government and non-governmental
personnel to serve alongside the group's standing teams.
There are a host of legal, labor, and bureaucratic hurdles to
get to the right people and Martin believes this will always
be a struggle. There are privacy concerns with maintaining
standing lists, for example. But they are working through
these issues, and recently, for example, were able to enlist
the Ontario chief coroner to help with tsunami relief
operations in Sri Lanka, and a senior border officer to work
with the Palestinian National Authority.


4. (SBU) Recent field missions coordinated by the Secretariat
include the Darfur peace support mission for the AU force;
security support for the Haitian elections; the civilian
component for the Afghanistan PRT; support for the Ward team
working border services and justice issues in the Middle
East. The Secretariat has a scanty budget of C$100 million
this year, but Martin said he believes they are ready to
"unlock the safe." This money is going fast, with C$52
million already committed to lease helicopters for the AU
force in Darfur. He added that they are often required to
move quickly but still follow (onerous) procurement rules,
which is a challenge.

5. (SBU) The Secretariat was also responsible for the
planning of the DART team deployment to Pakistan. This began
with a "3D (diplomacy, defense, and development)
reconnaissance" to Pakistan within 24 hours of the quake, led
by START Director General (and Ambassador for Land Mine
policy) Ross Hynes within days of the quake, and including a
senior representative from Defense and CIDA. The team
assessed the help that Canada could bring and a
recommendation made to Cabinet that the DART be deployed.
Martin pointed out, however, that the DART team is for the
medium-term of a crisis; it is not a first responder.


6. (SBU) Martin said that Canada is interested in the right
mechanism to coordinate its approach to post-conflict
stabilization with other countries having similar constructs,
e.g. the U.S., U.K, Netherlands, and possibly Norway and
France. He speculated that the G-8 might be one way to go,
or alternatively establish coordinated meetings or conference
calls. Martin said that Canada is most interested in
practical discussions of "real" cases that we may all be
working in the future, rather than theory or "bureaucratics."
In most cases, he said, the sooner specific and joint
planning begins the better. Martin acknowledged that at
present civilian planning for crisis response tends to be
married to military planning, since DND has extensive
planning experience and significantly more personnel devoted
to the process. For Afghanistan operations, for example,
Martin said his bureau continues to depend heavily on U.S.
CENTCOM for most of its intelligence and planning support for
the PRT.

7. (SBU) Comment: The START Secretariat has taken on a number
of missions since its inception. Though it appears to be
managing them capably, operationally the bureau is stretched
thin on the personnel side. START personnel would welcome
increased contact with U.S. counterparts at some point,
especially discussions about potential future missions where
we may one day share a foxhole. They also expressed interest
in sharing lessons learned from recent experiences, but did
not yet have such lessons catalogued themselves.

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